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Comment Re:Consumers getting it deep once again with this. (Score 2) 515

I pushed for usage based charging in my university as an alternate to the previous scheme of free bandwidth except for fining the top 20 users at £2/gig. They now charge by the amount charged per gig by the UK academic network (JANET) of ~15p (23c) and I think that's perfectly reasonable. Usage based charging is not a bad idea. In fact, it's pretty great for the majority of consumers. Why shouldn't people pay for what they use? Where it's bad is where there isn't appropriate competition to drive the price to the correct network cost, but monopolies are a problem for fixed rate plans, too.

Comment Odd story (Score 2) 85

So, I work in this field (computational condensed matter physics). I was going to do a PhD with one of his competitors in the random-structure field but eventually chose another. Weirdly, like, earlier today before I saw this announced, Prof. Oganov added me on Facbeook. So, questions: a) Why did he add me? b) Did he know I've got vague connections to his field? Curiouser and curiouser.

Comment Re:Well, that explains things. (Score 2, Insightful) 1268

The thing is every time someone talks about new ways of teaching math to fix problems in understanding like the one in the article, such as one way I saw of encouraging children to realize that e.g. '4', '2+2', '3+1', '1+3' are all the same thing, they're derided as some sort of wacko modern maths that makes no sense. Make your mind up, children aren't in general stupid, but their teaching certainly can be.

Comment Re:How is this news? Oh, its on the web!!! (Score 4, Informative) 143

It sounds very like by the wonderful mySociety which has been running in the UK for a while now, and working quite well, all for free. It's effective because it streamlines the often awful web reporting mechanism that city councils have into a single system that handles the reporting and the public presence of the report that other people can see (to see how effective the council is).
United Kingdom

Submission + - UK election captures the Geek Vote (

dominux writes: With the UK getting ready for a General Election the political parties are figuring out the importance of the geek vote. As a result of the protests and general backlash against the Digital Economies bill (our DMCA equivalent) that was being shoved through at the last minute the Liberal Democrat party has dropped it's support for the bill and it will now probably fail. Voter initiatives such as Democracy Club and Vote Geek are making this the an election where technology policy makes a difference.

Comment Re:You never discard the data (Score 4, Insightful) 190

As other people have pointed out - sometimes the data is just crap due to the difficulty of making measurements. Sometimes you've measured something other than what you actually need to compare to theory, sometimes there's too much noise. The skill of a great experimentalist is being able to take good enough data that you can't justify ignoring it if it comes out different to what you expected.

Comment Re:If we evolved to have them... (Score 5, Interesting) 260

Whether or not we "need" them can only be judged retrospectively, and not after a fairly sudden (in evolutionary terms) change in environment before the consequences have worked out - us having evolved to have them would probably indicate that they give some sort of advantage to not having them.

Comment Re:Sprites (Score 1) 168

You posted that you thought EU was a viable theory, which it isn't, I responded.

Your points on issues of scienctific acceptance of new paradigms might be true, but that has no baring on whether or not any particular theory like EU is actually suffering from this unfair rejection (hint: it isn't).

Don't try to mark me as misunderstanding what you said, you made an assertion regarding scientific progress, then tried to tie it into an unrelated point about EU (which was factually incorrect).

It's a wonderful tactic if you want to feel persecuted.

Comment Re:Sprites (Score 1, Offtopic) 168

What's your point? That science is a process of constant discovery? That science requires proper evidence for something to be accepted?

What element of solar winds isn't accurately modelled by current theory? The solar wind is a lot more complex a charge flow than charge flow in a wire - you get magnetohydrodynamic effects, the particle flows are also partially ballistic, all sorts. EU is an over simplistic model in itself and current models can accurately explain all the observations, while EU cannot.

Comment Re:Faith is gone. We need a better way! (Score 2, Informative) 101

In the UK, my bank has given me a card signing device - whenever I set up a standing order, I put my card in, enter the amount, and then give my PIN. It spits back a response code, which I then type in. I believe it's possible to use a method like this on some websites that require credit cards, but not all processing systems support it; and that's a fundamental problem with any security improvements in credit card processing, that it'd require a replacement of effectively all current code.

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